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$25 Billion Bounty Puts Hollywood Heists To Shame

The Auto Care Association and IMR Inc. report that in a recent survey, more than 100,000 American households (driving more than 170,000 vehicles) revealed they know that repairs or maintenance need to be performed on their car but have chosen to delay the work.

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It drives my wife crazy, but I love movies about teamwork, cars and robberies. When you cram as many of those elements as possible into one film, I’m in heaven.

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“Gone in 60 Seconds,” “The Italian Job” and “Baby Driver” have everything I’m looking for when it comes to escapism – great soundtracks, amazing cars driving recklessly in exotic (heck, even mundane) locations and tempting piles of cash waiting at the end of the job to be stalked and stolen. Plot doesn’t matter so much – in fact, sometimes the less sense the story makes the better.

You know what else doesn’t make sense? The fact that these cinematic heists are chump change compared to the even more incredible amount of car-related cash just sitting there in real life, waiting to be snagged by the right team using the right vehicles – and it’s not even illegal.

According to the Auto Care Fact Book 2020, there’s nearly $25 billion in delayed auto maintenance out there right now. That’s Billion with a B. 

The Auto Care Association and IMR Inc. report that in a recent survey, more than 100,000 American households (driving more than 170,000 vehicles) revealed they know that repairs or maintenance need to be performed on their car but have chosen to delay the work. 

It’s not the exotic, high buck enhancements that will help cars jump between buildings, outrun F14s and withstand repeated explosions – most jobs are the normal day-to-day procedures that are easy to forget and dangerous to neglect. 

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Brake pads, tire changes and oil changes rank at the top of the list. Those maintenance jobs really add up, explains the survey – with 278 million cars on America’s roads, that’s more than 5 million brake jobs, nearly 7 million tires and 11 million oil changes that need to be performed, mounted or drained.

“We surveyed 100,000 households about how they’ve maintained their vehicles and whether they’ve knowingly delayed any maintenance on those vehicles,” said Bill Thompson, CEO, IMR, Inc. “We found that a surprising amount of households are knowingly delaying vehicle maintenance and that the primary reasons are economic, convenience and a perception that delaying the maintenance isn’t quite affecting vehicle performance.”

Of course, as we in the industry recognize, following the recommended service intervals can keep money in consumers’ pocket by avoiding more unintentional wear, a catastrophic failure or worse case, an accident.

“We’re all guilty of not repairing our vehicles on a routine schedule, or even when the check engine light comes on,” said Behzad Rassuli, senior vice president, strategic development, Auto Care Association. “But not all repairs are made equal, and not all of them set off a check engine light.”

Ready for action? You probably already know your lines – now just work with your supporting cast of shop employees and customers to write the script that will help you get your share of the $25 billion treasure.

Doug Kaufman

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